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IFC, Bank Muscat Help Expand Financing for Smaller Businesses in Oman


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +20 2 2461 423
E-mail:
RMustafa@ifc.org

Muscat, Oman, November, 5, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Bank Muscat signed today an agreement that will make it easier for smaller businesses in Oman to access financing, helping these firms expand and create jobs.

The agreement will see IFC advise the bank as it launches new products and services aimed at micro, small, and medium enterprises. Bank Muscat will also offer support to women-owned businesses, helping them become more active economic players.

“Small businesses are a vital part of the Omani economy,” said Abdul Razak Ali Issa, Chief Executive of Bank Muscat. “Bank Muscat is proud to sign this agreement with IFC, which will help entrepreneurs address the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises (SME) and provide an environment critical to SME success.”

While there are more than 100,000 smaller businesses in Oman, most don’t have access to bank loans, making it hard for them to grow. IFC will help Bank Muscat develop a new model for reaching out to these enterprises, offering businesses not only loans, but also advisory services.

“In many ways, Oman's banking system can serve as a model for other countries in the Middle East and North Africa," said Rashad Kaldany, IFC Vice President of Global Industries. "This agreement will help show that supporting smaller businesses not only encourages economic development, but that it also makes financial sense for banks."

This marks the most recent partnership between the two organizations. In late 2011, IFC provided Bank Muscat with a $170 million loan to boost lending to smaller businesses. The initiative is part of IFC’s efforts in the Middle East and North Africa to support entrepreneurs. During the 2012 fiscal year, which ended in June, IFC facilitated the disbursement of 325,000 loans worth $672 million to micro, small, and medium enterprises.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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About Bank Muscat
Bank Muscat is the Sultanate of Oman’s largest bank with assets worth $19.2 billion as of June, giving it a nearly 40 percent market share. The bank’s small and medium enterprise business has pioneered many industry-leading practices and remains committed to further growth. The bank has a strong corporate banking business and has also built the country’s largest consumer banking franchise through its network of 135 branches. For more information, please visit www.bankmuscat.com.